Celebrate Your Personal Work Style
The best home office is welcoming and comfortable (so you’ll want to go there) and helps you focus (so you’ll get more done when you do). In honor of National Organize Your Home Office Day on the second Tuesday of every March, check out some great ways to personalize your WFH setup and make taking care of business a real pleasure.
Section It Off, Pretty It Up
For a home office located within a larger space, like a bedroom or basement, designating a specific area for it can limit distraction and foster concentration. Section off a dedicated workstation with a bookcase, curtain, or other physical divider—or simply create a separate spot visually with peel and stick wallpaper. It’s a snap to install and remove, and comes in loads of patterns and colors, including inspirational quotes for encouragement.
Get Your Ideal Desk
Sure, virtually any horizontal surface that’s deep and high enough can suffice, but you’ll be more productive with a desk that suits your work mode. If most of your business is done online or while word processing, you’ll want a bona fide computer desk with a spot for the tower and printer, plus adequate storage. Or perhaps you’ll want an adjustable sit-stand desk so you can stretch your legs while you seal the deal.
Pick the Perfect Chair
An ergonomic chair will promote good posture and help you avoid muscle aches after a long day. But what seat suits you best? Instead of the familiar office chair on wheels with a backrest and headrest, you may favor a stool, knee chair, or stability ball. And if a new chair isn’t on the horizon, pad your current one with a quality cushion (available on Amazon ). Choose one with a grid pattern for support and a columnar design for optimal air circulation.
Seeing is Achieving!
Illuminate your workspace for various tasks with an adjustable lamp. A gooseneck model is highly versatile, since its supple body can twist and bend, directing the light where needed. There are also desk lamps with arms that swing, heads that tilt, and telescoping poles that let you adjust the height. Some lamps even allow you to tailor the brightness to the task. And to keep energy bills in check, consider a lamp that powers on and off automatically, in sync with your movements.
Related: The Best LED Desk Lamp to Illuminate Your Office Space
Keep H2O at Hand
You already know to hydrate regularly—but you may require more water than you think (use this calculator to see how much). Rather than running to the fridge or faucet, make sure you’ve got a water bottle in reach. A 32-ouncer is amply sized, and opt for a glass version to retain beverage temperature well.
Get Your Java Jolt
Elevate Your Laptop
You love your laptop, but by the end of the day you may feel the ill effects of slouching over it. The solution may be a laptop stand, an ergonomic device that will lift that screen to eye level, staving off neck and eye strain caused by a constant downward perspective. A metal model that’s ventilated will keep your device running cooler, which can help reduce crashes (available on Amazon ).
Got gadgets? Transform any standard outlet into a wireless charging station that will juice your devices without pesky, distracting cords. The best of these wall-mounted wonders are compatible with a spectrum of smartphone makes and models and include a tamper-resistant shutter system that prevents improper insertion of foreign objects—crucial if curious tykes hang around to “help” you work.
Break for Your Body
When you’re working, a workout may be the last thing on your mind—but if you can fit in a little fitness, you may actually accomplish more. Recent research found that employees who used a company gym were more productive during the day, while another study showed that people experience immediate cognitive benefits after a brief, moderately intense exercise session—just 15 minutes or so. A set of stretchy resistance bands is a great choice for a home office, since they help you build strength, flexibility, and stability, then stash in a drawer or closet when you’re done.
Related: Design a Home Gym
Work by a Window
Recent Cornell University research found that workers seated by a window perceived a boost in productivity, a decrease in drowsiness, and a whopping 84 percent decrease in computer vision syndrome (symptoms include eye strain, headaches, and blurry vision). If a window isn’t available, consider a light therapy lamp (available on Amazon ), which simulates bright natural light. And to stave off eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes you look away from your monitor for 20 seconds, gazing at something 20 feet away.
Let the Outside In
Adding potted plants to your office environment brings the great outdoors to your daily grind, which can have a calming effect during stressful situations. Select low-maintenance cacti and succulents if you’re not a green thumb, and arrange them on a tiered plant stand (available on Amazon ) that won’t take up too much square footage if you’re in close quarters
Treat Your Tummy
Who doesn’t crave a snack to power through that late-day deadline? Nutrition experts say most adults should limit snacking to about 400 to 500 calories per day to avoid weight gain, so stock your snack drawer with reasonably healthy tidbits like nuts, popcorn, veggie chips, and dried fruit; if it’s got to be cookies or candy, single-serving packages can keep you from blowing your calorie budget. Truly healthy snacks like yogurt require refrigeration, so if you’ve got the room, consider adding a mini fridge to your office space.
Plug In Protection
It may not be the most exciting office accessory, but this surge protector tower (available on Amazon ) is a step up from a standard power strip. It stands vertically, so it won’t take up much floor space, yet with four USB ports and eight outlets (that separate cords neatly) it lets you keep all your plug-ins safe and secure.
Visualize Your Success
Decorating with photos, art, even souvenirs and mementos is a pleasant way to personalize, as long as you don’t overdo it to the point of distraction. Perhaps the best way to add pizzazz—and remind yourself why you’re working so hard—is with a vision board: a collection of empowering images and inspirational messages that let you literally picture your success. The modern approach is a digital vision board compiled with such online apps as Canva or PicMonkey. Not only can you keep it on your desktop, you can print it out to take your dreams along wherever you go!
Get the help you need for the home you want—sign up for the Bob Vila newsletter today!